Rotary President McArthur visits Guttenberg, New Jersey

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Karilyn McArthur stands in the downtown district of Guttenberg, N.J. The business district has a similar feel to our downtown area with its "mom and pop" storefronts. (Photo submitted)

By Caroline Rosacker 

Our "sister city," Guttenberg, N.J., is a small rectangle in Hudson County. The community, also named after Johann Gutenberg, is four blocks wide and 10 blocks in length covering approximately 150 acres of land with a steep terrain. 

The community has a population of approximately 11,700. It has been described as a place so tiny that every person, big or small,  is confined to a studio-sized apartment. It is the most crowded municipality in the United States. 

  small portion of the community has a breathtaking view of the Hudson River with a backdrop of the Manhattan skyline. 

In 1963, local fire chief Ernest Pufahl and his wife visited our "sister city" during their volunteer fire department's 100-year anniversary celebration. The Guttenberg, N.J., volunteer fire department’s chief, Stanley Rzempoluch, and his wife, in honor of our own department’s 100-year celebration, made the same pilgrimage in 1982.   

Local Guttenberg Rotary President Karilyn McArthur, upon the recommendation of fellow member Jean Green, recently had the pleasure of visiting Guttenberg, N.J. 

McArthur commented, "I had plans to visit a dear friend in Hackettstown, N.J. Jean recommended that as long as I was going to be in New Jersey I should take the time to visit our 'sister city.'" 

She went on to say, "Never one to say 'no' to a challenge, I contacted my friend to see if it would be possible for her to drive to Guttenberg from her hometown. My friend was happy to make the 60 mile trip."

McArthur called the Gutten-berg, N.J., city hall and set up a date and time to meet with city officials to learn more about their community. 

McArthur contacted our city officials and gathered memorabilia from Austin Greve from the fire department, a letter from Mayor Bill Frommelt and information from Chamber Director Mandy Ludovissy about our local chamber. She had Esser's Clothing make T-shirts to present that represented our historic community.

McArthur told The Press, "It is an amazing city. The community in some areas is very similar to ours. Their downtown business district is filled with quaint "mom and pop'" storefronts. Even though the community is not considered a tourist destination, the shops and restaurants are thriving in this vibrant community. The residential community is comprised of beautifully-maintained row houses. There are no large homes with expansive lawns." 

Due to an ever-growing population and lack of space to provide adequate housing for its residents, the Galaxy Tower Condominiums were erected. This trio of 415-feet octagonal towers is located in the southeastern corner of Guttenberg overlooking the Hudson River. 

 cArthur commented, "The towers stick out like a sore thumb, but they are beautiful. The cost to purchase one of these condominiums is two million dollars! The view of the Hudson River and the amazing Manhattan skyline would be worth the cost."

McArthur noted, "Our 'sister city' no longer has a volunteer fire department; it has been replaced by the North Regional Fire Company of Hudson County. The department services the communities of North Bergen, Union City, West New York and Weehawken.

During her visit McArthur met with fire chief Albert Salvesen; public safety director Joel Magenheimer; commander of operations Juan Barrera; Mayor Wayne Zitt; town administrator Cosmo Cirillo and town clerk Alberto Cabrera. 

After her meeting with city officials. McArthur presented the gifts from our community. 

"The town administrator, Cosmos Cirillo presented me with a history book of Guttenberg, a police badge, several police magnets and two Guttenberg lanyards," she said. 

McArthur reported, "The community is a melting pot of ethnicity. There are four churches and two schools. They have one public elementary school, pre-kindergarten through eighth grade with 1,200 students attending, and a parochial school, St. Joseph Elementary with 500 students. High school students attend school in North Bergan."

If your vacation plans this summer include a trip out east, consider a visit to our "sister city,"Guttenberg, N.J.

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